In August of 2014, Makers and Allies came on board to take the lead on the creative direction, branding, and interior/exterior design of the new Tooth and Nail winery in Paso Robles. The old winery had just been leased by Rabble Wine Co. and everyone was incredibly excited to begin the process of transforming what had been a medieval castle with Disney-esque flair into something sleek and edgy: exactly the personality of the established Tooth and Nail brand.

It was a worthy challenge, but one we were excited to take on!

Over the next five months, we worked very closely with both the Rabble Wine Co. team and the team at Covelop, the new property owners, to set the creative direction for the property and establish an overarching vision for the winery and tasting room. As part of our design process, one of the first things we did was create mood boards. We created three different boards for the project, the final of which is shown below.




One thing we knew for sure is that we wanted to “de-castle” the castle. This included replacing lighting, removing superfluous detail on both the interior and exterior, and ripping down the ceilings in both the tasting and banquet rooms. We also knew it would be incredibly important to create an outdoor space for people to enjoy in the Paso Robles heat. Fortini Home and Garden came on board as the exterior design team and we worked closely with them in order to create a space that felt consistent with what was happening on the interior.



As you approach the castle, you arrive at a massive set of gates, which used to be a little imposing, clad in wood and spiked on top. The gates got an overhaul with a simple removal of the wood and top spikes and a fresh coat of paint. We also knew that all the lighting would be replaced and began to visualize the fixtures for the project. Pointed torch-style fixtures were replaced with sleek, black steel cubes and the old, almost-invisible signage was replaced with massive blackened steel signage that is scaled to fit the space.



New Signage Details…




The old approach to the castle left a lot to be desired. A dirt driveway wove through the vineyard and ended at the castle. There was little way-finding and no structure to the parking lot. What began as a dirt parking lot and a vast open patio with two sad cypress trees became an entrance truly fit for the space it served. Fortini Home & Garden put together the landscape and paving plans for the property, and between the massive, old-wood olive trees in the parking lot and the flowering pear trees flanking the driveway, the entrance to the castle is much more inviting and really draws you up the hill towards the grand entrance.




We wanted to make sure that we addressed the front patio as a space for relaxation as well as a place to escape the heat. Paso Robles is well-known for its blazing hot summer days and the existing space lacked any kind of shade out front, rendering the space virtually unusable. With a little structural help from our contractor, Makers & Allies came up with the design for the front trellis and the seating area that now exists. Part of the plan was to design in spaces for water and lighting within the trellis space, including water features for the centers of the seating areas. The construction team worked with our designs and drawings to cut and reshape the concrete on the patio to make room for plumbing and electrical to come out to the middle of the seating areas… and a massive trellis was erected.



We also knew that no one liked the pointed column caps and the pointed “tiki torches” that sat on top. As you walk the property, you will notice that the planters, as well as the new caps on top of the columns surrounding the moat, are all cor-ten steel and filled in with olive trees and perennial plantings. This was a very intentional design decision made early on in the design process. We liked the idea of the steel weathering: showing it’s age and telling a story and it was very important to us to bring as much greenery as we could up into the patio area to soften the straight lines of the castle and provide shade.

We wanted this to be a place for people not to just come for a few minutes, taste a couple wines, and leave. We wanted it to be a destination: a place for people to gather, share their stories, and relax.

All of the wine labels that are part of the Rabble Wine Co. brand lineup each tell a story, and the Tooth and Nail labels are no exception. We wanted to play off of the ruggedness of those label and create something that felt earthy, yet still elegant, and that would give a little roughness to this very polished castle. Finally, we had custom bench seating fabricated, which incorporated the cor-ten steel and wood to strike a balance between the roughness of the steel and the earthiness of the wood.


(Patio) After Photos…


The upper patios are used for wedding, party, and VIP events and while we had a very small budget for these spaces, we were able to bring up some planters and fill them with ornamental grasses and olive trees, softening the space, providing shade, and setting the stage for the next phase of the design.



Another huge element that we considered and reconsidered were the giant doors at the building entrance. While massive and impressive, they posed a problem for the new tenant: they were so big that they needed to be propped open in order to avoid someone getting pinched by them, but in doing so, the cool air from the building’s air conditioning unit escaped through the front doors, resulting in a massive electricity bill. Cost aside, we wanted the building to be mindful of the resources it was using, so we suggested rebuilding the doors. We took inspiration from old church doors often seen in Europe: large fixed wood doors with smaller operable doors set within. Working with the team at Pacific Millworks, we designed a new set of entry doors that would solve our energy issue. We chose a rough wire-brushed cedar for the material and hardware that fit the size and scale of the new doors. In the foyer, we tore out the faux columns and their surrounds and the existing doors, smoothed the walls, and replaced the doors to the tasting and banquet rooms with new cedar doors containing iron speakeasies. The walls got a fresh coat of paint in neutral tones, setting the tone for artwork that will eventually fill the walls, and providing a gorgeously soft-colored backdrop for event photos.

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(Entry & Foyer) After Photo Details…




Our main focus on the interior of the building were the tasting and banquet rooms. From our mood boards, one of the very first things we chose that drove the design of the space through the whole process was the wall color in the tasting room. It was dark and dramatic, but we knew that with all the windows on the west walls, it would be anything from gloomy and provide the perfect amount of drama. The color is called Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball. The first thing to come down were the old ceilings. The old castle ceilings were reminiscent of a gothic church interior and left the visitor feeling at best, claustrophobic, and at worst like you were going to be stabbed in the head by one of the hanging points. Everyone agreed they had to go.

We wanted to visually expand the ceiling space and were captivated by imagery of large ceiling beams in old French chateaux.

Once the beams had been decided upon, we needed to address the lighting. We wanted good, general lighting, but didn’t want to put recessed lighting in the ceilings. Though we wanted to “de-castle” the castle, we also didn’t want to modernize it so much that we lost some of the magic of the space. Low-profile track lights were the solution and were not only able to mount to the sides of the beams, but LED bulbs helped us meet our Title 24 energy requirements so that we could have some fun with lighting elsewhere. Keith at Parallel Design Studios was our lighting hero for this portion of the project. He was the puppet-master behind the scenes, performing lighting calculations and doing endless research for us so that our design could come to life. Sconces and pendants still need to go in, but while we wait, let’s admire some gorgeous photos, shall we?



After Photos Continued…



The tasting room bar was one of those items that functioned just fine, but lacked that something special. We knew that if we didn’t address it, it would stick out like a sore thumb in the new space. Ultimately, we tore it out and rebuilt from scratch. Part of our personal design process is to start with hand sketches (below) for our ideas before taking them into the computer and rendering them out in full dimension. Once our sketches were turned into construction documents, our contractor jumped on board and took the bar from demolition through completion using our in-house design drawings and working with local fabricators to source the steel and flat wine staves that were used on the facade. The bar top was also a custom-designed piece and each detail was thought through from the corner brackets to the size and location of the rivets. We are so happy with the finished product and especially love how the steel has taken on a life of its own with a gorgeous patina from spilled wine and the loving hands of everyone who sits at it.



(Tasting Room Bar) After Photos & Details…


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The tasting room also had a great fireplace, but it lacked the scale and drama that the room desperately needed. It had also been previously used as a wood-burning fireplace, but we knew that it hadn’t been drawing air correctly and that the tasting room attendants would not be able to maintain and keep stoked a wood fire, so we wanted to convert it to gas. We also knew that it made the most sense to keep the general integrity of the fireplace structure, only removing stone mantel and the lions holding it up, and simply creating a facade that would wrap the existing stone hearth and a new face piece that would get us the look of a grand metal fireplace while keeping the cost down. We created our initial design for the fireplace in-house and worked with the local sheet metal company in Paso Robles for fabrication. The end result is a blackened steel fireplace that captures the edgy drama that we were searching for.

Note: All photos shown are of the new fireplace.



Makers & Allies also took on the sourcing of the furniture for the space, making trips both locally and down to Los Angeles in order to find the perfect pieces for the tasting room and outdoor patio. Scale was a factor: we needed to make sure that the pieces we chose weren’t dwarfed by the space. We were especially thrilled with the brown, chesterfield sofa. It can fit 4 people very comfortably and its rugged and slightly more masculine fabric is a nice contrast to the dove gray velvet on the french-inspired wingback chairs flanking the fireplace.


We hope the new Tooth & Nail Winery is an inspiring place; one that you come visit and stay awhile. Many thanks go out to the entire team who worked together to pull off this remodel in a short 5-months from start to finish. You all are rock stars.

Interested in learning more? Drop us a line!